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January 29, 1988 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-01-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I TORAH PORTION I

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Natural

v-7 Resource

'Song Of The Sea': The
First Hymn Of Israel

RABBI IRWIN GRONER

Special to The Jewish News

T

his Shabbat is known
as Shabbat Shirah,
the Sabbath of Song.
When the children of Israel
celebrated their great victory
over the Egyptians as they
crossed the sea, Moses and
the children of Israel broke
forth into a song that
celebrated that victory.
"I will sing unto the Lord,
for He is highly exalted; the
horse and his rider hath He
thrown into the sea."
This song became incor-
porated into the observances
of the Jewish people. It is
recited daily in the morning
service, woven into the pat-
tern of Jewish liturgy.
In the Talmud, we find a
discussion regarding the

Shabbat Shirah,
Parashat
Beshalach:
Exodus 13:17-17:16,
Judges 4:4-5:31

precise manner in which the
"Song of the Sea" was
rendered by Moses and the
children of Israel. Rabbi
Akiva declared: "The
children of Israel repeated the
verses that fell from Moses'
lips."
Rabbi Nehemia resents this
aspersion on the Jewish peo-
ple and he says, "Both Moses
and the children of Israel
were moved by the same
Divine spirit to compose with
shared inspiration the song of
the Red Sea." Moses uttered
the first half of the verse, and
the congregation responded
with the second half.
Rabbi Akiva believed Moses
alone was blessed by heaven-
ly inspiration. The rest of the
congregation was a mere echo
to his words.
Rabbi Nehemiah maintain-
ed that the ecstasy of that mo-
ment was such that all of
Israel was transformed into a
people of prophets, able
through their own inspiration
to complete the words of
Divine praise.
The issue is this: Music is
not simply the creative
genius of the writer or of the
performer, as important and
indispensable as they are. We
should recognize a spirit that
reposes in the people, in the
congregation, that evokes this

Irwin Groner is rabbi of Cong.
Shaarey Zedek.

creative achievement and
that contributes to the
creative process.
This is a lesson about life. A
writer must have readers who
respond to his message. An
artist requires viewers who
appreciate what he is trying
to portray. A speaker needs
people who listen to his
words, and the cantor re-
quires a congregation whose
reverence is an integral part
of the experience of worship.
A familiar term for cantor
is shaliach tzibur, an
emissary of the congregation.
One can only be an emissary
if there is a congregation
whom the cantor represents,
as he conveys on the wings of
song the hopes and yearnings,
the concerns and joys of all
who enter the sanctuary for
prayer.
Our magnificent tradition
can be understood in the
same way. What is Judaism,
but a great symphony played
before a great audience? The
whole glorious heritage —
with its laws and teachings,
its heroes and history, its
dreams and visions — is a
symphony in search of a
listener. a song in search of an
echo, a challenge in search of
a response.
We are the audience of that
tradition, and we determine
whether it is alive or mori-
bund, ancient or relevant,
history or destiny. The
answer is found in the way we
respond, and according to
Rabbi Nehemiah, in the way
we share in the creative
process.
Music conveys the spiritual
fervor of Jewish observance.
The Jewish people developed
chants and melodies, nuchaot
and niggunim, for every wor-
ship service. In daily prayer,
in sabbath worship, in festival
liturgy, and in High Holy Day
worship, our people created
chants and songs in which to
pour forth their supplication
and yearning, their faith and
celebration, their joy and
hope.
We rejoice with the song of
Moses, the first national
hymn of Israel. We can hear
in its cadences the timeless
melody of Jewish life through
all the ages.

Rabbi Describes
Temple Focus

Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine will
describe the philosophy and
the programs of the Birm-
ingham Temple and of
Humanistic Judaism at 8:30
p.m. Feb. 3.

MEDICAL BRAINWASHING

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WEIGHT REDUCTION

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• IMMEDIATE RESULTS • PERMANENT REDUCTION
• MEDICAL CONSULTATION
A revolutionary new medical program developed by a Diplomate of the
American Board of Psychiatry, Certified in Medical Weight Reduction.

wa-

February 6
Schoolcraft College

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CALL FOR
INFORMATION

349-9111

YOUNG ISRAEL OF BLOOMFIELD

invites you to a

Public Meeting, open to members and non-
members of Young Israel, interested in this
New Orthodox Synagogue Center

to hear

A Progress Report
RABBI SAMUEL H. PRERO, GUEST SPEAKER
Tuesday, February 2nd 8:00 p.m.

Jewish Community Center
Board Room
6600 W. Maple, W. Bloomfield

Calling all
ushers, decorators, envelope stuffers,
cheerleaders, carpenters, baby-sitters,
chauffeurs and volunteers of every kind . .

The Israel Independence Day Committee needs you
to help with the many community-wide events of

BRING YOUR TALENTS .
AND LET'S PARTY!!!

Fill out and return this coupon to:
Israel 40th Anniversary Committee, 6600 W. Maple, West Bloomfield, MI 48322

YES, I'D LOVE TO VOLUNTEER MY (OUR) SERVICES FOR THE
ISRAEL 40TH ANNIVERSARY EVENTS!

Name(s)

Zip

Address

I would like to decorate

(H)

Phone (B)

Vows print)

man a booth

assist with the Walk for Israel

work with children

help with mailings

usher

other

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

39

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